BOOK REVIEW: STAY WITH ME BY AYOBAMI ADEBAYO

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“Stay with me”, she said. I stayed till the end.

I wanted to stay with Ayobami Adebayo. I wanted to pick up her words and memorize them. I wanted to stay in the pages of her book and immerse myself in the depth of the story. I wanted to stay.

There are so many reasons why I loved this book:

  1. Style of narration
  2. Figures of speech
  3. Vivid descriptions
  4. Strength of the Characters
  5. The story
  6. The themes – Lust, Love, Forgiveness, Human Nature, Tradition, Politics, etc.

The author’s style of narration is in first person but what makes it even better is that the narration is in two voices; the voice of the main character, Yejide, and the voice of her husband, Akin. Ayobami Adebayo is able to achieve this by setting out their narrations in different chapters interspersed throughout the book. This gives the reader a good insight into both of the character’s deepest thoughts. The story swings from the main character to her husband’s narration in a seamless stream.

Her similes are fresh. These are some of my favorites: “she was fair, pale yellow like the inside of an unripe mango”. “if one moved close enough, that mouth oozed an unbearable stench, like stale urine.” “I was coming undone, like a hastily tied scarf coming loose, on the ground before the owner is aware of it”.

I loved her style of description. Take a look at this, “I wanted to leave them standing outside and go back upstairs to sleep. Maybe they would melt into pools of brown mud if they stayed long enough in the sun. Iya Martha’s buttocks were so big that, if melted, they would have taken up all the space on the concrete steps that led up to our doorway.”

I like the way the author gives details and then connects the dots later. For example after the main character’s husband marries a new wife, the new wife comes to visit Yejide at her salon. Yejide tells the story: “…the nails were painted hibiscus red, like the matching mugs Akin and I had used to drink coffee that morning…”.

Later in the story, Yejide tells us she bought new mugs. When her husband asks, she said she broke them.  We don’t know why until the author narrates it thus: “I could see that he assumed I had simply knocked the mugs over by mistake or dropped them as I was putting them away. There was no reason for him to think that I had slammed each hibiscus-red mug against the kitchen wall as the cuckoo clock in the sitting room chimed at midnight. He could never have imagined that I had swept the broken pieces into a dustpan, put them in a small mortar and pounded them until I was sweating from every pore and wondering if I had lost my mind”.

It is this kind of narration that makes the book a page turner.

The strength of the characters – Yejide, the main character strikes me as a resilient woman; a woman who is able to remain strong through all her difficulties yet  she is a flawed character just like any one of us (feeding her in-laws with beans knowing well it wasn’t freshly made just after they introduced her to her husband’s new wife is something I could have done).

Her husband is an equally strong character; his depth! The depth of his deception clearly drives the marriage into the ground. For me, the most striking thing about Akin, Yejide’s husband is his calculated deceit. Not to say anything of how he pretended to be disappointed when the doctor told him their son’s genotype and the likelihood that Yejide had cheated on him.  Of course, he knew that he was the one who got his brother to sleep with his wife yet he acted like the wounded husband. Classic! Just classic! Ayobami Adebayo portrays the characters so creatively that one cannot help but be surprised at their actions and reactions (getting to know that Akin killed his second wife was mind-blowing)

The story is richly and proudly Nigerian. It gives the Nigerian that sense of “this is our own”. Ayobami Adebayo weaves the tale with an excellent craft. The story moves fluidly between different times, the present and the past. The suspense is steady and agreeable. The use of imagery is superb. The story is deep and loaded with drama. At first, I was thinking, “basic story, man marries new wife because wife can’t get pregnant? Big deal”!

But no! The big deal about this story is the layers in the story. Like cabbage, you can keep unfurling the layers and you won’t get inside fast enough. From having to contend with a new wife, the protagonist has to grapple with visits to the mountain top for prayers (breastfeeds a goat to simulate breastfeeding a baby), a pregnancy that exists only in her head yet manifests in a protruding tummy (pseudocyesis), a hostile mother-in-law, falling into the trap her impotent husband cunningly set for her (to sleep with his brother and get pregnant), battling with sick children and finally the discovery of her husband’s betrayal.

At a point I felt the drama was a tad much but it all came together nicely. The tragedy in the story is heavy. The pace of the story keeps the reader interested and invested so much so that you feel like taking Yejide by the hand and saying “please sit a while, unburden your heart and rest”.

It is a story of the deepest betrayal – the betrayal of the one you love and trust the most.

The themes visited in the story are many – we have love between Yeijde and her husband, Akin, then lust from Akin’s brother  for Yejide and his struggle with himself. Yejide’s lust for something she had obviously been deprived of from her husband for years.

Politics is beautifully addressed as the story moves in between years; you see the transitions in Nigeria’s political scene.

Tradition and societal ills is another theme Ayobami addresses in her book. She reveals how easily families interfere in the affairs of a childless young couple. She tells us how desperate a woman can get to satisfy society – some validation to show that she is really not barren. The reality of mental instability that can arise from the desire to be pregnant is depicted – a condition called pseudocyesis. The scourge of Sickle Cell Disease is also sewn into the fabric of this very unpretentious book.

The inherent wickedness of man is visited in the person of Yejide’s husband who keeps his secret and makes her miserable in all her suffering. I loved the use of folklore in the book. She used two of my personal favorites; the story of Olurombi and the Iroko tree as well as the story of greedy Ijapa (the tortoise and the porridge that got him pregnant)

She also  manages to talk about the period when armed robbers used to write to residents.

I couldn’t help feeling disappointed that Yejide didn’t really have a close friend or relation to be a support through her pain but I suppose that is what makes the story so moving.

The brilliance of this book is in the ability of the author to wrap all of the things she addresses into 306 pages, make the book funny in parts, very poignantly sad and yet so real.

I rate this book a well-deserved 9/10.

This is a story that will stay with you.

Kemibon

 

 

 

 

 

 

Through Chimamanda Adichie I saw a side of the rising sun

I shivered, cried, stared into blank space, laughed out loud, closed my eyes in embarrassment, thought hard about life, wrote interesting pieces just because of Chimamanda Adichie’s Half Of A Yellow Sun. I had read another book by her, The Thing Around Your Neck which my lovely sister, Kemi reviewed here but I did not expect what I got in this book.

It’s definitely a shelf book and I would read it again during a vacation or holiday just to see the details and explore the characters. It inspired me so much, I wrote about her on my blog several times.

I want to write as deeply emotional as Chimamanda does when I’m older and wiser. With this book, she made me see a side of the rising sun, the war and the pain that has affected every Nigerian tribe. I saw the killing of the Sardauna, the jokes about his death by the people and the death of Olanna’s extended family during the killings in the North. It was worse than the movie.

“Olanna looked into the bowl. She saw the little girl’s head with the ashy grey skin and the plaited hair and rolled-back eyes and open mouth. She stared at it for a while before she looked away.”

I could talk about the history themed in the book and it may feel like “bla bla bla” to you but the book has made an impact and told me; a young lady who did not witness the Biafran war, that it should not happen again.

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The book was published in 2006 by Farafina in Nigeria. It is based on the pre and post- independence era in the country and focuses primarily on the activities of Nigerians and “Biafrans” between 1960 and 1980.

Did you know that the secessionist Biafran state is recognised to have existed between May 1967 and January 1970? I didn’t. I thought the Biafrans were a group of people fighting for their land, I had no idea it was recognized or that so many things were involved in the process of secession and living in such a state.

In fact, I wonder how those who survived did. Chimamanda’s Half Of A Yellow Sun may just be fiction but what were the realities and how did Nigerians and Biafrans cope? We shouldn’t even start talking about the survival tactics such as hustling for salt or egg yolk as protein for the children or underground bunkers, the surprising deaths and betrayals…

It talked about the military rules and rebels and pain that would forever remain in the hearts of those who faced the war and survived it.

My favorite character was Ugwu, my dear Ugwu who loved women and treated them according to how he felt about them, my dear Ugwu, who was confused when he saw water come out from a tap, my dear Ugwu through whose eyes the story begins and ends.

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Ugwu in the movie

Chimamanda knows how to portray love realistically. The woman is good biko (please in Ibo). Olanna and Odenigbo were not just lovers, they were friends and that was what kept them together even when the love was hungry for food.

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Odenigbo and Olanna in the movie

This book is a classic in that it discusses the war from the perspective of the Igbo people in the most realistic way. I feel she achieved what she set out to do with this book because it changed the way some saw the war. Anyway, I realised that in all times, we should endeavor to show humanity to our neigbours.

Watching the movie is not enough, reading the book is so much better.

What I found a bit uncomfortable was the fact that Richard who was meant to understand Igbo so fluently hardly said a word of Ibo in the novel for us, the readers to translate and Chimamanda kept going back and forth from one character to another, which is why I would advice that one read the book before watching the movie, I kept expecting the same chronology I got in the movie.

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Please find below an excerpt on the story behind the book;

Both my grandfathers were interesting men, both born in the early 1900s in British-controlled Igbo land, both determined to educate their children, both with a keen sense of humor, both proud. I know this from stories I have been told. Eight years before I was born, they died in Biafra as refugees after fleeing hometowns that had fallen to federal troops. I grew up in the shadow of Biafra. I grew up hearing ‘before the war’ and ‘after the war’ stories; it was as if the war had somehow divided the memories of my family. I have always wanted to write about Biafra—not only to honor my grandfathers, but also to honor the collective memory of an entire nation. Writing Half of a Yellow Sun has been my re-imagining of something I did not experience but whose legacy I carry. It is also, I hope, my tribute to love: the unreasonable, resilient thing that holds people together and makes us human.

Chimamanda Adichie

Cheers, Abiola

Note: This excerpt was gotten from chimamanda.com

THE LION AND THE JEWEL

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Hallo Readers! I have been really lazy about reading lately although I just picked up L.M Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables but I am reading it ever so slowly. Luckily my sister came to my rescue with this review of The Lion and The Jewel by the Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka.  I can’t say if she gave any hints as to who the lion is and what jewel is Wole Soyinka even talking about? Can you figure it out?

Abiola Bonuola reviews:

The Lion and the Jewel by Wole Soyinka

The first time my sister, Kemi Bonuola read this book in JS 3 (equivalent to middle school in the U.S.A ), she obviously hated it. I know this because right at the beginning of the book, I came across the following scribbles:

“Question: What do you think about the book? I think it is a very boring book. The writer himself must be very dry and uninteresting to write such a boring local led comedy. When reading it, I did not laugh at all so I can’t guarantee the fact that it is a comedy. I will just call it a dry play written by a dry man, Soyinka.”      -Opinion by Kemi Bonuola ,13, JS 3 C.D.S.S

Now that she is much older, she read the book again and just oohed and aahed over the book. She urged me to read it too but I remember very clearly that I did not like the book as a child either but as the stubborn yet compliant lady that I am, I decided to force myself to read the book by suggesting the book to my colleagues for the office’s monthly fun and relaxation plan.

That said, this is what I felt about the Lion and the Jewel by the Sagacious, Wole Soyinka, on reading it for the second time:

Lakunle is a fool, no doubt about it.

He has no wisdom whatsoever in wooing a woman and/or marrying her in his village, Ilunjinle. He tries to prove that he is educated but his education lacks substance despite his supposed vast knowledge of the city.

That’s too much adjudication for one man, I know but… this book, the Lion and the Jewel is an exciting, wise, colorful and inspiring book. The Lion, Baroka and the Jewel, Sidi prove to know their turf in their town so does everyone else apart from Lakunle.

Anyway, there is use of wisdom in this book especially as Baroka begins to speak the words of persuasion to vain Sidi just so he can win his war. He says, “When the child is full of riddles, the mother has one water-pot the less” or “It is a bridge”. The longest-so they say in the whole country. When not a bridge, you’ll find a print of groundnuts stacked like pyramids, or palm trees, or cocoa trees, and farmers hacking pods and workmen felling trees and tying skinned logs into rafts. A thousand thousand letters by road, by rail, by air from one end of the world to another, and not one human head among them; not one head of beauty on the stamp?”

Sadiku went on errands to Sidi for Baroka so many times in his attempt to woo Sidi. I wonder how her mind really works. Is it that she was blind to Baroka’s ways or is it just tradition that has clouded her “brains”?

There is comedy so sensational especially when Lakunle agrees to mime the drunken photographer.

I still cannot believe this play was published in 1963 by Oxford University Press because the language is so simple, it could have been a 1990 play. Even in this book, there was a sense of the constant modernization of Africa which is still ongoing.

At the use of imagery, culture, song, dance and poetry, I was ultimately awed. The theme of encouraging the youth to embrace the good aspect of culture is unique. I couldn’t stop talking about this book with my colleague at work. I rate it 10/10.

lion ans the jewel

Abiola Bonuola

 

A MAN OF THE PEOPLE-CHINUA ACHEBE

It hurts to say this but I promised myself that my reviews would always be honest and straight from the heart so I am here to say that I had high expectations about this book by Chinua Achebe and I was disappointed.  The first half of the book was boring and predictable and the second half was…predictable and boring! I contemplated skipping some pages but I labored through the 162 pages and dropped the book with mixed feelings.

disappointed

What did I like about A Man of the People? I liked the title for one. I am a sucker for titles if you haven’t noticed that yet. From the title I could tell that the book would be about politics and the first few pages confirmed that. The predominant theme I could decipher from the pages as I flipped through is corruption. Other themes like greed, lust and love featured as well.

We see a man who was once a teacher become a minister, we see him elevated by the people and more or less worshiped because he has something to offer-money. We see a man whose status now affords him the beautiful things in life including a new wife! We also glimpse what poverty can push people to do like a man willing to give away his daughter to a rich politician.

I didn’t like the style of narration at all neither did I enjoy the pidgin English used, it disturbed the flow of the story for me.

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For most parts it was funny, I liked the use of African proverbs and the main character’s determination to get the minister’s “new wife” (he had not married her yet) for sleeping with his “girlfriend”. The last few pages of the book confirmed my expectations that the main character would triumph and get the girl.

Every character had a flaw in my opinion which made the story real because one can relate to the flaws in the characters.

Was it a good satire? I would say yes. Would I read it again probably not.

Have you read this book? Would you read it? Why would you read it? Leave your comments below!

Kemibon

AUTHOR’S INTERVIEW-ADEOYE ADETOBA

Hi guys! Kemi here! Last week we featured a review of the book Freedom By October written by Adeoye Adetoba. Well, guess what? He also obliged us a short interview earlier in May! This is the first interview feature on the blog so I am really excited to know what you all think. Without further ado, I present to you Adeoye Adetoba.

1.Hi Adeoye! How are you this fine May day?

 

I’ve always been myself. Trying every day to be at peace with myself.

 

  1. Tell us what brought you to writing? Or shall I say why did you write this book?

 

What brought me into writing started out as me being a voracious reader.   I wrote Freedom by October because I have always been intrigued by stories and movies that revolve around investigations, searching for clues and unraveling mysteries in a thought provoking, analytical way.

 

  1. What informed your choice of the setting and the characters? Did you have to change your mind about some characters at any point of writing the book?

 

Dearth of investigative stories first, then our society is one filled with questions begging for answers. Mostly financial crimes and corruption; the way huge amounts of money shape-shifts and gets missing, formed parts of the setting and it helped me in creating the characters.

 

Yes, there were changes in the characters at some point during the writing of the story. That was when the story took itself off my hands and began to evolve. It then espoused on the fact that all humans have their failings. All the characters, both heroes and villains, then evolved into individuals with a particular weakness or the other.

  1. When will the book be published?

 

Freedom by October has been published online, this May. The paperback publication would be out before October.

  1. Are you set on writing another book soon? Or perhaps a short story collection? Where do you really see your writing in the next 5 years?

 

The plot for another deeply, plotted, investigative story is already finalized but more attention is shifted now to completing my poetry collection and an uncompleted play I’d left hanging.

I see my writing in the next five years to have improved tremendously, as well as having a unique style to it which would be identified with me even without my name appearing on it.

  1. Do you have the famous writer’s block? Or you have a constant muse that keeps you writing?

I didn’t experience the writer’s block while I was penning the over 400 pages of Freedom by October. Perhaps because the story was busting to be told at all cost.

 

  1. Writing with a pen or typing? Which is your preference when it comes to your writing?

 

I prefer typing to writing with a pen, even though the first 100 pages were inked with a pen but once I got access to my personal laptop, typing came so easily and fast to me. Ever since, I don’t pen down words but type directly as the creative spirits leads. Plus, I like the jamming sound of the keys as my fingers stab the keys. It makes me sound serious(Laughs)

  1. Okay, enough about the book. Tell us about yourself? What makes Adeoye tick? Your hobbies? What you do for fun?

 

I always like to introduce myself as a writer and a poet. My name is Adeoye Adetoba. I reside and work in Lagos presently. I love reading and love to engage in academic discourse of any nature. Watching football is one of my favorite pastimes and I listen to music on-the-go music of any kind.

 

  1. You said you are also a poet. Where can our readers find your poems?

Some of my poems can be found on Poemhunter and on my Facebook page, but I seldom post online now, instead I read poetry actively at poetry gatherings.

  1. Thank you for granting us this interview Adeoye. Finally, where can readers reach your book?

 

Freedom by October can be found online on Amazon and Okadabooks for now. The paperback is soon to hit the market.

 

 

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FREEDOM BY OCTOBER BY ADEOYE ADETOBA

I strongly support new ventures and I respect people who are able to chase down their dreams and achieve something different from their day jobs. Adeoye Adetoba is one of such people, a graduate of biological science technology, Adeoye has found the time to serve up this hot dish called Freedom By October. Not only is the title catchy, I tell you the story packs drama, intrigue and suspense.

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When he asked me to review his book, I was delighted and quickly obliged. I read it on my phone over a weekend and quickly concluded that this was a winner.

Freedom by October is a fast moving story of betrayal, corruption, lust, greed, jealousy and avarice. I sincerely can go on about several of the human vices explored in this book because they were so many but I will let you find out yourself. The author brilliantly starts the story with a seemingly honest person who we later find out is a grand schemer and a street hustler. This story cuts deep into the corrupt wiles of men in power and the atrocities they commit to stay in power. It exposes how the love of money can ruin a man. There are so many characters in the book but I was able to keep up, the threads or relationships linked one character to the other like a spider’s web.

The setting of the story is Nigeria the language is easy, mostly informal. What I enjoyed most about the story was the surprise at finding that one good person had moved over to the bad side. Before I finished the book I began gambling with characters like-“oh here’s a betrayer”! or no this one is going down next! I was also alarmed by the murder scenes, the brutality practically jumped off the lines.

If you ever read Sidney Sheldon then this book is right up your alley. Lots of conspiracies between characters for one common goal can be found in this book, of course one party has to get greedy and sell the other one out. The suspense is also intense and the story is altogether very gripping and engaging.

The author captures the desires, fear, love and despair of the characters very well with his use of words and imagery. If a character is enjoying a bowl of pepper soup you will probably crave for a bowl yourself! And if a character wants to kill someone you can feel the desperation as you follow the story.

I have a few suggestions for the writer, I noticed that the scenes jumped into scenes without warning in each chapter. The author could have placed asterixs once a part of the story was concluded before the next part commenced.

I must say it was a refreshing read and I hope to see more books from this brilliant new author.

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I am sure you are probably wondering what Freedom by October means. Well, I won’t spoil the fun by spilling that here! You need to get your own copy of the book which is available on Amazon and Okadabooks.It is very affordable.

This is the link…

http://www.okadabooks.com/book/about/freedom_by_october/11254

Thanks for reading! Please leave your comments below.

 

OUR HUSBAND HAS GONE MAD AGAIN

Hello Readers! Two reviews in one week right?! You are thinking I must be on some reading spell! But, don’t conclude just yet. This review was written by my little sister  who “rolling my eyes” forgot that she’s an administrator of this blog and should not only have its interest in mind but as a reader herself should have submitted a review like months ago. Anyway, It seems she’s back from her hiatus and has decided to bless us with a short review of Ola Rotimi’s “Our Husband has gone mad again”. So here it is !

OUR HUSBAND HAS GONE MAD AGAIN BY OLA ROTIMI

Ok everyone, this is the procrastinator speaking. I know. I can’t believe it either. I know I am one now because I watched a TED talk on the attributes of a procastinator and it clearly highlighted what I sometimes do. Kemibon can no longer harass me on my procrastination in writing this piece. While I embrace my (sometimes) procrastinating self, I must tell you that you may not get any more reviews from me in the next two or three months so please accept this as an expensive piece of diamond you acquired.

Since my guardian angel, the panic monster has awoken, this is my special review of Ola Rotimi’s Our Husband Has Gone Mad Again.

Our Husband has gone mad again by Ola Rotimi is a farce. The tone in which it was written was original in the sense that it conveyed the Nigerian style of thoughts and deeds. Ola Rotimi made us believe that an unwise and educated man, Lejoka Brown had two wives, Mama Rashida and Sikira out of circumstance and one wife, Liza because of “oyinbo” love (no offense intended to anyone). Also the great writer made us understand that Lejoka Brown believed he understood the politics of his community. This proves wrong when Lejoka Brown gets kicked out of his political party and his wife Sikira becomes the force of the same party.

The most interesting character to me was Liza. She was a liberal woman who tried to carry out all her activities strategically to influence her environment the way she wanted it to be influenced.

On her arrival at Lejoka Brown’s house, she literally turned Sikira to her personal maid. The funniest moment was when Lejoka Brown was on his way home and Sikira had been encouraged and brain washed by Liza to believe that all men and women should be equal in their community so that she sang the song of parity at the top of her voice. Okonkwo and Lejoka Brown on hearing her began to believe one of the wives had gone mad.

Liza’s love story with Lejoka Brown is one that could inspire some of us to continue to seek out the overrated yet exalted four letter word, LOVE. But things went out of control when she saw that Lejoka Brown did not count her as a useful asset to his household so she made plans to return to America. Lejoka Brown loved her but did not believe in love so, he ignored Mama Rashida’s warning to stop her from leaving him.

The military songs at the beginning of the book made me go down memory lane to my primary school days when I used to sing those marching songs of praise.

The book was pleasing to me and I felt urged to sing about gender equality and justice for both genders with Sikira as it is a basic right missing in the Nigerian society today, I also had to remember I was just engaged by the metaphors of the book. I wish you well as you read the book. Cheers.

Abiola Bonuola

DIARY OF A YOUNG GIRL

DIARY OF A YOUNG GIRL
In all my years as a reader I don’t think I have ever come across a more “frank” voice as the voice of Anne Frank in “The Diary of a Young Girl”. The diary of a Young Girl is a narration of Anne Frank’s life between the years 1942 and 1944. The most striking impression I got from the book was the sincerity in the words and the power of description of a very young girl of 13. Since Anne was merely keeping a diary of events in her life, it is understandable that there are really no holds barred. She takes the reader through the experience of life during The Third Reich.
The book begins when Anne receives a diary for her birthday (June 12 1942), Anne begins to write two days after her birthday and takes the reader into a world of boy crushes, family everyday living and the many wondering expressions of a teenager which everyone can relate to. In addition to these mundane things Anne Frank is besieged by the fear, worries and imminent dangers of being caught by the Nazi. Being a jew, life was not easy and that’s putting it lightly.

I found that once I started reading I was eager to go back to the book, her words haunted my days and when I woke up in the morning after a night of dreams, some of my dreams had been woven around the life of Anne. So deeply did her story penetrate my being. Initially, the diary skips along happily with Anne being a chatterbox at school and having to get punished by her teacher Mr. Keesing who requested that she write an essay on “A chatterbox”. Her essay and the other essays she had to write as a result of her apparent love of gab gives the reader an image of a fun loving, intelligent and quick witted girl. The diary soon becomes sad and uncertain when Anne and her family have to go into hiding due to the call-up notice received for her sister, Margot from the SS. The reader must note that this was during the occupation of the Netherlands by the Nazi.

Anne’s father, Otto Frank takes the family to his office building with the collaboration of his former colleagues. The back of the building is ingeniously converted to a living quarters. Anne’s power of description is once again exhibited as she describes in detail the manner in which the back of the office has been converted for living. Worthy of mention is the bookcase which is placed at the entrance to the back office.
The diary continues by mentioning all the inhabitants of “the secret annex” as she later called it. There were eight occupants in hiding; Anne’s parents and her sister as well as her father’s business partner, his wife and son. Later a dentist is taken in who has to share a room with Anne. What I enjoyed most about her diary is the clarity of thoughts she exhibits and the maturity with which she analyses situations. Anne is able to state her feelings for every occupant of the secret annex in very clear statements with a maturity that is rare in a teenager. She is not afraid of anyone and expresses her opinions without holding back. Anne is very aware of her own excesses and throughout her diary you can feel her desire to be a good person, the teenage feeling of being misunderstood and the mood swings reminiscent of a Gemini can also be gleaned.
Beyond the crushes on Peter, and self-discovery, Anne is a brave girl with a lot of faith. Every day in hiding was apparently terrifying for her and the entire family but…Anne takes each day with faith, she expresses her sadness for not seeing the sun or lying outside to truly enjoy nature and cherishes the moments when she can smell the air through the windows they have to keep locked.

I tried to imagine living for two years in such confinement and I found the thought quite inconceivable. I was immediately ashamed of the way I take things for granted. Just thinking about what they had to do to stay in hiding without being found out; not flushing the toilet, keeping lights off, windows shut, staying very quiet, eating rotten food and so on, but Anne’s outlook to all these is relayed with humour. She is optimistic for most parts and shows gratitude for the small things, she often prays to sail through these very terrible difficulties. Sometimes she finds herself sobbing in the dark. A profound fear grips the occupants when the sky is rent with air raids and gun strikes, somehow the house is never affected. They are also attacked by robbers sometimes. Through all the experiences, Anne keeps writing in her diary. The occupants celebrate their birthdays with little gifts and such days are noted by Anne. I was very touched by these little celebrations in confinement and made a mental note to always celebrate my own birthdays.

At other times, Anne swings between trying to understand herself, love for her father, hatred for her mother and being quick to state that she knows she is different. Her short friendship with Peter is a whirlwind! Her thoughts during those times are penned down with apparent delight and confusion at where the friendship would lead. She is also realistic enough to admit that she doesn’t know what will happen after the war.
Anne speaks about politics a little bit. The reader will find that though young, her mind is very developed and independent. For most part, I kept wondering to myself, was I like this at 13, 14, 15? Her vocabulary is also very developed and she shows herself to be an excellent writer and story teller.
Throughout the book, Anne’s wit and humor can be appreciated as well as her compassion for their helpers (her father’s colleagues) who make sure they are not found out and always bring them gifts and stories from outside.
Anne’s diary ends shortly before they are found out and taken away to concentration camps.
I feel I should go into every detail in the book but I cannot. Alas, this is only a review. I finished this book with one dominant thought: I want to be more grateful for the little things.
Have you read this book? Share your thoughts!